Piaggio Short Lists Partners for Jet Program

 - September 22, 2011, 11:25 AM

Piaggio Aero Industries apparently will enter the business-jet market only if it can line up an existing major aircraft manufacturer as a risk-sharing partner in the long-awaited program. Majority shareholder Mubadala has identified Dassault, Gulfstream and Cessna as prospective partners for a Piaggio jet, according to Homaid Al Shemmari, executive director of the Abu Dhabi group’s aerospace unit. Al Shemmari told AIN today that Genoa, Italy-based Piaggio is expected to deliver a full business plan and technical specifications for the new jet late this or early next year, and at this point the way would be clear to sign up a partnership to launch the program. Mubadala has previously declared that Piaggio, in which the Italian Ferrari family and India’s Tata group also are shareholders, will have a business jet in service by 2018. Around the Ebace show in May, it emerged that the company was in talks with prospective partners, but the identities of the OEMs in contention have not previously been confirmed. At the time, Piaggio indicated that it was just a few weeks away from completing the business case and specifications, but this timetable appears to have slipped. Al Shemmari indicated that Dassault is the most likely choice, since the French airframer already has strong ties with Abu Dhabi through the sale of fighter aircraft to the wealthy Arabian Gulf state. He said that the Piaggio jet will fill a niche not served by existing models. Piaggio is also planning further improvements to its existing Avanti II twin turboprop, Al Shemmari added.